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Day Trips to Dover, Canterbury, and Stonehenge

My wife and I are staying over for an extra week after the Rick Steves' Best of London Tour. What is the best method for transportation in order to travel to Canterbury, Dover, and Stonehenge as day trips?

Posted by
21043 posts

Canterbury: By train. Nationalrail.co.uk. I recommend the walking tour offered by the tourist information center and the stained glass museum upstairs (no elevator) at the cathedral. It's also a very picturesque place just to walk around.

I haven't been to the other two.

Posted by
9684 posts

Stonehenge can be done by taking the train to Salisbury, picking up the local bus company loop shuttle out to Stonehenge and then picking up the return run. On the way back the bus stops at Old Sarum. You also should try to see Salisbury Cathedral if you have time.

The bus company is The Salisbury Reds and the bus stops right at the station. They call it the Stonehenge Tour but it’s not really something I would call a tour altho there is a narration on the way out. No need to book ahead. Just pay the driver.

Posted by
5537 posts

Stonehenge has already been explained.

For Canterbury and Dover, you have numerous options. The high speed service HS1 departs from St Pancras, is more expensive and has newer trains. You can also get trains from Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge or Waterloo East, which are slower services and the carriages are older (but not ancient). Although these trains are slower, if you are staying near Charing Cross, Victoria etc, it maybe quicker to take this service than to travel up to St Pancras to start your journey. The National Rail website has already been suggested to you - don’t buy tickets on the Trainline website. The operator is southeasternrailway.uk.co to buy direct.

Posted by
149 posts

I went on day trips to stonehenge and canterbury with Walks.com and highly recommend them if they have them going the tiime of year you are there.

Posted by
4675 posts

Note that there is a significantly cheaper half-hourly regular bus from Salisbury Reds that gets within a mile of Stonehenge (Larkhill Medical Centre) - the X4. Maybe only for the adventurous.

Posted by
96 posts

This June we will be staying in Canterbury for a few days. Wanting to visit Dover for a day, I did a lot of research and was able to find this: Dover Castle and the White Cliffs Experience. Scroll down and you'll find this description:

  • Admire the views across the English Channel from the famous chalk cliffs of Dover before visiting what is the largest and finest example of a Norman Castle in Britain, and is often described as 'The Key to England'. Inside the Great Tower you can immerse yourself in a medieval palace like no other. Discover centuries of history from the Romans to the Cold War and delve deep within the cliffs to visit the Secret Wartime Tunnels which housed a military hospital in WW2.

Starting Point: Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone (including
train stations and ferry terminals) Duration: Up to 5 hours

It's certainly not inexpensive, but I thought I'd pass it along.

Posted by
27713 posts

I didn't want to click through to find how not inexpensive that tour is but I am curious how much not inexpensive is...

I did not that the train fare to get to the bus pickup is not included, and what it seems to include is a bus ride from one of several train stations to the Castle, stopping briefly at an overlook either coming or going, the admission to the Castle and the bus back to the station.

If you did that on your own you could take the train all the way to Dover Priory which one mile (15 to 20 minutes walk) from the castle, or take a town bus much of the way.

Admission to the castle is either £20/base or £22 with donation.

I do think it is a bit cheeky of the tour company not to put their prices out to see - it seems you have to request a quote. Sneaky.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks to everyone for your kind suggestions! We will profit greatly from your recommendations.

Posted by
2933 posts

To add on to what Pam said in her above post. She has given you great instructions.

Consider taking the train to Salisbury and spending two nights. We found it to be a refreshing change from London. Remember to experience England's towns and villages.

You could see Stonehenge on the first day, including a stop at Old Sarum. Later in the day, you could visit Salisbury Cathedral, and possibly catch their Evensong. The next day, you could visit the museum near the cathedral and stroll around the town. There are some very nice old hotels there including one dating back to about 1425, long before Henry VIII was born.

Consider also taking the train to Canterbury, staying two nights. On the first day, you could see Canterbury Cathedral and possibly attend Evensong. On the second day, you could take the train to Dover, see Dover Castle. You may end up spending a good part of the day here. Touring the castle will take at least half of the day, then you'll want to enjoy the view across the English Channel for a while.

There is also the Roman Painted House, the remains of a Roman townhouse and its museum to see.
Official website is here:
http://cka.moon-demon.co.uk/painted.htm

You could then return to Canterbury, enjoy walking around town, spend the night. Back to London the next day.

Getting out of London to spend several nights is always a good idea.
Slower pace, hotels are cheaper.

I can suggest hotels in both places if you decide you want to do this.

Posted by
2658 posts

Hi, the best way to get to Canterbury As the above posts mentioned is by train, from London Victoria Station to Canterbury East. Once you get to the station in Canterbury and exit the train walk across the street, then you will see the Canterbury E Station Bridgewalk it until you reach the Roman Wall. When you get to the wall turn right onto the wall, it will take you to the city center it’s about a ten minute walk. Enjoy your time there.

Edit: if you travel from other stations in London to Canterbury East, you will need to change trains. Traveling from London Victoria you can get a train with no changes.

Posted by
5537 posts

London Victoria is only the best option if you are staying near there, otherwise, use Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge or Cannon Street, whichever is closest.